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Leukemia. 2011 Jan;25(1):41-7. doi: 10.1038/leu.2010.228. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

Pre-transplant imatinib-based therapy improves the outcome of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for BCR-ABL-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

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Department of Hematology, Fujita Health University Hospital, Toyoake, Aichi, Japan.


A high complete remission (CR) rate has been reported in newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ALL) following imatinib-based therapy. However, the overall effect of imatinib on the outcomes of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) is undetermined. Between 2002 and 2005, 100 newly diagnosed adult patients with Ph+ALL were registered to a phase II study of imatinib-combined chemotherapy (Japan Adult Leukemia Study Group Ph+ALL202 study) and 97 patients achieved CR. We compared clinical outcomes of 51 patients who received allo-HSCT in their first CR (imatinib cohort) with those of 122 historical control patients in the pre-imatinib era (pre-imatinib cohort). The probability of overall survival at 3 years after allo-HSCT was 65% (95% confidence interval (CI), 49-78%) for the imatinib cohort and 44% (95% CI, 35-52%) for the pre-imatinib cohort. Multivariate analysis confirmed that this difference was statistically significant (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.44, P=0.005). Favorable outcomes of the imatinib cohort were also observed for disease-free survival (P=0.007) and relapse (P=0.002), but not for non-relapse mortality (P=0.265). Imatinib-based therapy is a potentially useful strategy for newly diagnosed patients with Ph+ALL, not only providing them more chance to receive allo-HSCT, but also improving the outcome of allo-HSCT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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